Section 376D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offense of gang rape. It was introduced as part of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, following public outrage and demands for stricter laws in response to the increasing incidents of sexual violence, particularly gang rapes, in India.
Section 376D of the IPC
“376D. Gang Rape. — Where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offense of rape and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine: Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim:
Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.”
Key points about Section 376D IPC
- Definition: Section 376D defines gang rape as an act where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention.
- Punishment: The punishment for gang rape is rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years, which may extend up to life imprisonment (imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life). The court may also impose a fine, which is meant to cover the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
- Vicarious Liability: Under this section, each person involved in the gang rape is held responsible for the offense of rape, even if they did not directly commit the act but were part of the group acting with a common intention.
Section 376D was enacted to strengthen the legal framework against sexual offenses, especially gang rapes, and provide stricter punishment to those involved in such heinous crimes. It reflects the seriousness with which the Indian legal system addresses crimes of sexual violence and aims to provide justice and support to the survivors of such atrocities.